Most important amendments to the new e-Commerce rules

Updated: Jul 30, 2021

#India has witnessed a volume increase of around 36% as compared to the last quarter of 2020. #e-Commerce players are expecting strong sales growth in the upcoming period. Considering this rapid growth of e-commerce platforms, it is important to strengthen the laws governing e-Commerce. To protect the interest of consumers, prevent their exploitation and encourage free and fair competition in the market, the Government of India has shared a draft of the proposed amendments to the #Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020.

These rules are proposed rules which ensure fair and equal treatment on the e-Commerce platform. It also ensures that consumers are not adversely affected in the event where a seller fails to deliver the goods or services due to any reason or circumstance.

Applicability of rules:
  1. all goods and services bought or sold over the digital or electronic network including digital products;

  2. all models of e-commerce, including marketplace and inventory models of e-commerce;

  3. all e-commerce retail, including multi-channel single-brand retailers and single-brand retailers in single or multiple formats; and

  4. all forms of unfair trade practices across all models of e-commerce.

Who is exempted?

Activities carried out by a natural person in a personal capacity eg. Sole Proprietor selling handmade goods online, Services of Professionals etc.

Duties of e-Commerce entities:
  1. e-Commerce entity must be a registered company under the Companies Act, 1956 or 2013 or it can be an office or agency outside India owned or controlled by a person resident in India under Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999.

  2. The above entity must appoint a nodal person of contact to ensure compliance with the provision of the Act or rules made thereunder.

  3. Every e-Commerce entity shall provide the following information on its platform:

  • The legal name of the entity

  • Address of its headquarters and branches

  • Name and details of its website

  • Contact details of customer care and grievance officer

  1. Every e-Commerce entity shall establish an adequate grievance redressal mechanism and shall appoint a grievance officer for consumer grievance redressal. His name, contact details and designation must be clearly displayed on the e-Commerce platform.

  2. Receipt of the consumer complaint is to be acknowledged by the grievance officer within 48 hours and it is to be resolved within 1 month from the date of receipt of the complaint.

  3. In the case of imported goods, details of importers to be mentioned.

  4. No e-Commerce entity shall impose cancellation charges on consumers cancelling after confirming purchases. If an e-Commerce entity has to bear such charges for any reason, it may recover the same by the consumer provided the order is cancelled by the consumer.

  5. No e-Commerce entity shall manipulate the price of goods and services to gain unreasonably. It should also not discriminate between consumers of the same class.